Title: Growing Pains
Author: Cass Lennox
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Gigi Rosenberg is living his best life: performances in the big city, side gigs at a dance company, a successful drag act, and the boy of his childhood dreams who now adores him. Even if the boyfriend part isn’t the sparkly ride of passion he expected it to be, life is sweet. So when his sister’s wedding calls him back to his hometown, he sees an opportunity to show the hicks from his past how wrong they were about him. Only, his boyfriend isn’t quite on board.
Brock Stubbs left their hometown and his parents behind for a reason, and the prospect of facing them again is terrifying. He swore he’d never go back, but Gigi has made it clear refusal isn’t an option, and Brock will do nearly anything for him. There’s just one deal-breaker of a problem: Brock promised Gigi he was out to everyone, including his parents. He lied.
It’s magical to run into the sunset together, but staying the course takes work. For Gigi and Brock, going home feels like the finale of a long, disappointing year. Sometimes love isn’t all you need.
I was super excited to see Growing Pains on Netgalley, since I really enjoyed Finding Your Feet. Sadly, it came to my attention that Finding Your Feet was quite problematic (read the top review on Goodreads), so I decided to go into Growing Pains with critical eyes.
Also, I want to apologize for not picking up on the problematic aspects of this book sooner. I’ll do better. Now, let’s get into the review.
I’m going to be completely honest here and tell you I ended up DNF’ing the book. I always try to at least finish books that I get for review, but this was just too painful to read.
The first big painful thing I encountered was the fact that, during a sex scene, one of the main characters “molested their shoulders”. What? That’s just not an okay thing to say/write? And using the word ‘molested’ in a sex scene just seems very very wrong.
Then came the fact that one of the main characters told the other main character (who was abused by his parents) that his parents probably weren’t that bad. Seriously? The abused main character was also forced into situations where he had to interact with his abusers, and it was just, as I’ve previously mentioned, too painful to read. The whole ‘abuse’-story line just wasn’t handled well.
Then you add a few fat shaming comments in the mix and a bit of ableist language, and ta da, we have a DNF.
The writing was still okay. It was very easy to read, and easy to be sucked into, but I couldn’t look past the problematic-ness of the book. I wouldn’t recommend this book, at all.